Regulations Amending the Wildlife Area Regulations and the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations: SOR/2022-90
Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 156, Number 10
SOR/2022-90 May 2, 2022
CANADA WILDLIFE ACT
ENVIRONMENTAL VIOLATIONS ADMINISTRATIVE MONETARY PENALTIES ACT
P.C. 2022-445 April 29, 2022
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Wildlife Area Regulations and the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations pursuant to
- (a) section 12footnote a of the Canada Wildlife Actfootnote b; and
- (b) subsection 5(1) of the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Actfootnote c.
Regulations Amending the Wildlife Area Regulations and the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations
Canada Wildlife Act
Wildlife Area Regulations
1 Subsection 3.3(1) of the Wildlife Area Regulations footnote 1 is amended by adding the following after paragraph (g):
- (g.1) Edéhzhíe National Wildlife Area, as set out in item 1 of Part IX of Schedule I;
2 Schedule I to the Regulations is amended by adding the following after Part VIII:
1 Edéhzhíe National Wildlife Area
All geographic coordinates that follow refer to the North American Datum of 1983, Canadian Spatial Reference System (NAD83(CSRS)) and any reference to a straight line is a reference to points joined directly on a NAD83(CSRS) Universal Transverse Mercator projected plane surface.
In the Northwest Territories;
All that parcel in the vicinity of the Horn Plateau, including all land, water and islands, and being more particularly described as follows:
- Commencing at the point of latitude 61°26′32″N and longitude 118°24′50″W;
- Thence northwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 61°35′04″N and longitude 118°33′07″W;
- Thence northeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 61°41′58″N and longitude 118°26′31″W;
- Thence northwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 61°46′19″N and longitude 118°45′37″W;
- Thence westerly in a straight line to a point at latitude 61°48′20″N and longitude 119°51′34″W;
- Thence northwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 61°57′00″N and longitude 120°32′51″W;
- Thence northwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°09′23″N and longitude 120°56′24″W;
- Thence northwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°13′38″N and longitude 121°02′24″W;
- Thence northeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°29′48″N and longitude 120°50′38″W;
- Thence northerly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°36′37″N and longitude 120°52′06″W;
- Thence westerly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°36′28″N and longitude 120°55′23″W;
- Thence southwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°35′05″N and longitude 121°00′23″W;
- Thence northwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°35′45″N and longitude 121°08′22″W;
- Thence northwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°37′19″N and longitude 121°11′39″W;
- Thence northwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°38′01″N and longitude 121°19′25″W;
- Thence westerly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°37′35″N and longitude 121°29′38″W;
- Thence southwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°29′44″N and longitude 121°42′20″W;
- Thence westerly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°29′14″N and longitude 121°52′20″W;
- Thence northwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°31′35″N and longitude 121°58′04″W;
- Thence northwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°35′38″N and longitude 122°03′33″W;
- Thence northwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°37′46″N and longitude 122°11′15″W;
- Thence southwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°36′42″N and longitude 122°23′37″W;
- Thence westerly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°37′05″N and longitude 122°36′58″W;
- Thence northwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°39′20″N and longitude 122°42′00″W;
- Thence northwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°40′00″N and longitude 122°48′29″W;
- Thence southwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°38′24″N and longitude 122°51′33″W;
- Thence southwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°37′49″N and longitude 122°57′38″W;
- Thence northwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°39′18″N and longitude 123°01′05″W;
- Thence northerly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°42′48″N and longitude 123°02′31″W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°39′53″N and longitude 122°54′44″W;
- Thence northeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°42′09″N and longitude 122°49′00″W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°41′24″N and longitude 122°40′15″W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°39′15″N and longitude 122°34′55″W;
- Thence easterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°38′59″N and longitude 122°23′47″W;
- Thence northeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°40′16″N and longitude 122°10′10″W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°38′33″N and longitude 122°02′30″W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°35′18″N and longitude 121°55′22″ W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°31′58″N and longitude 121°50′44″W;
- Thence easterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°32′07″N and longitude 121°45′28″W;
- Thence northeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°40′04″N and longitude 121°31′51″W;
- Thence easterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°40′27″N and longitude 121°23′42″W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°40′17″N and longitude 121°15′15″W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°39′06″N and longitude 121°07′29″W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°37′14″N and longitude 121°01′40″W;
- Thence northeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°40′11″N and longitude 120°53′10″W;
- Thence northwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°50′27″N and longitude 121°09′30″W;
- Thence northeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°53′05″N and longitude 120°58′28″W;
- Thence northeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°54′30″N and longitude 120°41′24″W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°39′15″N and longitude 120°23′37″W;
- Thence easterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°39′02″N and longitude 120°12′33″W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°34′26″N and longitude 119°56′46″W;
- Thence northeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°35′37″N and longitude 119°39′22″W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°31′26″N and longitude 119°06′21″W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°26′26″N and longitude 118°47′04″W;
- Thence southerly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°11′59″N and longitude 118°47′14″W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°08′05″N and longitude 118°32′54″W;
- Thence southerly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°02′43″N and longitude 118°32′29″W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°00′34″N and longitude 118°29′44″W;
- Thence northeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°02′48″N and longitude 117°38′06″W;
- Thence northerly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°13′37″N and longitude 117°39′02″W;
- Thence northeasterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 62°14′57″N and longitude 117°27′52″W;
- Thence southeasterly in a straight line to the point at latitude 62°06′00″N and longitude 117°15′00″W;
- Thence southwesterly in a straight line to a point at latitude 61°27′00″N and longitude 117°55′21″W;
- Thence southwesterly in a straight line to a point on the ordinary high water mark of the south shore of a first unnamed island in the Mackenzie River at approximate latitude 61°26′04″N and longitude 117°57′00″W ;
- Thence northwesterly, westerly and southwesterly along said ordinary high water mark, across the mouths of various tributaries, to a point on the westerly extremity of an unnamed peninsula at approximate latitude 61°28′23″N and longitude 118°16′13″W;
- Thence southwesterly in a straight line to the point of commencement;
- Said parcel containing approximately 14 218 square kilometres.
Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act
Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations
Coming into Force
4 These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.
REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)
In 2018, the Dehcho First Nations, in partnership with the Government of Canada, announced the establishment of the Edéhzhíe Dehcho Protected Area in the Northwest Territories (N.W.T.), under Dehcho Dene law. This designation, also known as an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA), sets out key objectives, such as ensuring the conservation of wildlife and its habitat. It recognizes the leadership of the Dehcho in caring for the land, and enables the Dehcho people to benefit economically from the management of the area. However, this designation does not provide a regulatory framework or enforcement tools under Canadian law to protect wildlife and wildlife habitat present on the land.
Therefore, the Edéhzhíe Establishment Agreement (EEA), signed by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the Grand Chief of the Dehcho First Nations, also includes a commitment to establish the area as a National Wildlife Area (NWA) under the Wildlife Area Regulations (WAR). Through the complementary designation of Edéhzhíe as both a Dehcho Protected Area and as an NWA, the Dehcho First Nations and the Government of Canada are working together to protect the area’s ecological integrity from impacts of future development and are ensuring that the Dehcho Dene way of life is maintained for present and future generations.
The Canada Wildlife Act (CWA) and its regulations, the WAR, allow for the establishment, management and protection of NWAs for research, conservation, and interpretation. NWAs are established in order to protect and conserve wildlife and wildlife habitat. In Budget 2018, under Nature Legacy 2018, the Government of Canada committed to conserving Canada’s biodiversity and to protecting species at risk, in part by expanding the network of NWAs. In addition, the 2019 Speech from the Throne committed to protect and conserve 25% of Canada’s lands and oceans by 2025. Furthermore, (ARCHIVED) ECCC is mandated to advocate at the United Nations Climate Change Conference that countries around the world set a 30% conservation goal for 2030.
The Edéhzhíe Protected Area is the first co-managed IPCA designated under the policy and financial framework established by Canada’s Nature Legacy 2018. Edéhzhíe is a spiritual place as well as ecologically and physically unique because its lands, waters, and wildlife are integral to the Dehcho Dene culture, language, and way of life. Edéhzhíe protects the headwaters of much of the watershed of the Dehcho region. Its diverse habitat ranges from wetlands to forests and it is home to a wide variety of northern plants and animals. Edéhzhíe encompasses the Horn Plateau, a 600-metre escarpment rising above the Mackenzie Valley, and the surrounding area of boreal forest drained by the Horn and Willowlake rivers.
Edéhzhíe provides important habitat for Boreal Woodland Caribou and Wood Bison: two species listed as threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act. Edéhzhíe also contains a portion of Mills Lake, which is a key biodiversity area. A key biodiversity area is an area that has been identified as having characteristics that make it important to the maintenance of biodiversity and sustaining wildlife populations. The identification of key biodiversity areas is a global initiative based on standards and criteria set by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Taskforce on Biodiversity and Protected Areas. Mills Lake hosts significant portions of the national population of several migratory bird species, including 12% of Canada’s eastern population of Tundra swans and 14% of its mid-continent population of Greater White-fronted geese. Mills Lake has been designated as a key biodiversity area as it contributes to the global persistence of biodiversity and represents an area of international importance in terms of biodiversity conservation.
In 2015, administration of the lands for the proposed NWA were transferred from the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) [formerly known as Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada], to the Minister of the Environment.
The objective of the Regulations Amending the Wildlife Area Regulations and the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations (the Regulations) is the protection and conservation, under Canadian law, of wildlife, wildlife habitat, and a unique terrestrial ecosystem in the 14 218 kmfootnote 2 of the Edéhzhíe Dehcho Protected Area.
Expected outcomes of the creation of the Edéhzhíe NWA are as follows:
- (1) Protection and enhancement of eco-cultural attributes of the Edéhzhíe NWA through the Dehcho First Nations role as co-manager.
- (2) Providing legal protections under the CWA thereby contributing to the conservation of species at risk, migratory birds, and other wildlife and habitats within the NWA in perpetuity.
- (3) Providing potential for increased income for local people through participation in the Edéhzhíe NWA management, Guardian Program monitoring activities, and conducting outreach.
- (4) Potentially developing tourism activities that align with the Edéhzhíe management plan and are authorized through a permit issued under the WAR.
The current Edéhzhíe Dehcho Protected Area under Dehcho Dene law is located north of the Mackenzie River between the communities of Wrigley, Fort Simpson, Jean Marie River, Fort Providence, WhatÌ and Behchokö, in the N.W.T., with the northeast boundary bordering both Dehcho and Tłı̨chǫ First Nations traditional territories.
The Regulations establish the new Edéhzhíe NWA by amending Schedule I of the WAR to include a description of these same boundaries.
Figure 1: Map of the Edéhzhíe National Wildlife Area
Figure 1: Map of the Edéhzhíe National Wildlife Area - Text version
The figure is a map showing the location of the Edéhzhíe National Wildlife Area. The figure also shows the location of key geographic references that include Wrigley, northwest of the national wildlife area, Fort Simpson and Jean-Marie River, west of the national wildlife area, and Fort Providence, southeast of the national wildlife area. At the top right of the figure, a bigger scale map shows the location of the Edéhzhíe National Wildlife Area within the Northwest Territories, boarded by Yukon in the west and by Nunavut in the east.
The Regulations also prohibit entry into the Edéhzhíe NWA, except for individuals authorized to enter through the issuance of a permit under WAR. Section 3.3(a) of the Edéhzhíe Establishment Agreement also ensures that individuals exercising section 35 rights under the Constitution Act, 1982, in a manner consistent with Dehcho law, will be able to enter the Edéhzhíe NWA without a permit issued under the WAR.
Pursuant to subsection 3(1) of the WAR, no person may do the following activities within the boundaries of an NWA, including the new Edéhzhíe NWA, unless authorized by a permit issued under the WAR, or unless specified in Schedule I.1 of the WAR:
- (a) introduce any living organism that is likely to result in harm to any wildlife or the degradation of any wildlife residence or wildlife habitat;
- (b) hunt, fish or trap;
- (c) be in possession of any equipment that could be used for hunting, fishing or trapping;
- (d) have in their possession, while fishing, any lead sinkers or lead jigs;
- (e) have in their possession any wildlife, carcass, nest, egg or a part of any of those things;
- (f) carry on any agricultural activity, graze livestock or harvest any natural or cultivated crop;
- (g) bring a domestic animal with hooves into the wildlife area;
- (h) allow any domestic animal to run at large or keep it on a leash that is longer than 3 three metres;
- (i) carry on any recreational activities, including swimming, camping, hiking, wildlife viewing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and skating;
- (j) participate in a group meal or a group event of 15 or more people;
- (k) light or maintain a fire;
- (l) operate a conveyance — including a conveyance without a driver on board — other than an aircraft;
- (m) conduct a take-off or landing of an aircraft, including a remotely piloted aircraft;
- (n) operate on land or in the water a remotely controlled self-propelled device or set in motion on land or in the water an autonomous self-propelled device;
- (o) remove, deface, damage or destroy any poster or sign or any fence, building or other structure;
- (p) sell, or offer for sale, any goods or services;
- (q) carry on any industrial activity;
- (r) disturb or remove any soil, sand, gravel or other material;
- (s) dump or deposit any rubbish or waste material, or any substance that would degrade or alter the quality of the environment;
- (t) remove, deface, damage or destroy any artifact or natural object; or
- (u) carry out any other activity that is likely to disturb, damage, destroy or remove from the wildlife area any wildlife — whether alive or dead — wildlife residence or wildlife habitat.
The Regulations also make consequential amendments to the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations by adding the Edéhzhíe National Wildlife Area to the list of NWAs within it. This enables an administrative monetary penalty (AMP) to be issued in the event an individual enters the NWA without a permit. An AMP may also be issued for violating any of the prohibited activities outlined above.
Protecting Edéhzhíe’s culturally important and ecologically diverse land has been a community-driven process for over 20 years. Since 2002, regular meetings have been held among First Nations, and with stakeholders, including the oil and gas sector, conservation groups, the mining sector, the tourism sector, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), local communities in the N.W.T., CIRNAC, ECCC, and others.
In 2009, the Edéhzhíe Working Group (comprised of the above-noted entities) completed its Edéhzhíe Recommendation Report, which recommended the establishment of an NWA under the WAR. The report was submitted to the Dehcho First Nations and the Tłı̨chǫ Government in March 2010. After completing the Recommendation Report, the Edéhzhíe Working Group met on several occasions (2011 and 2013) to discuss and develop next steps to protect the area.
In 2014, the Dehcho First Nations signalled to the Government of Canada that they wanted to build momentum towards formally establishing Edéhzhíe as a protected area. This led to additional meetings and consultations to determine the path forward. The Dehcho First Nations and ECCC worked closely together for the next several years to develop the EEA. The Dehcho First Nations provided regular updates during annual Dehcho First Nations Assemblies, which all Dehcho First Nations communities are invited to. They provided an opportunity to discuss the path forward towards establishing Edéhzhíe as a protected area with communities in the area.
In 2017 and 2018, ECCC and the Dehcho First Nations consulted with the Tłı̨chǫ Government to reconfirm their support for the boundary of the planned protected area, and for the EEA. The Tłı̨chǫ Government indicated their support for the protection of Edéhzhíe.
As part of the EEA signed in October 2018, the Edéhzhíe Management Board (EMB) was created to lead the management and operation of Edéhzhíe. The EMB is made up of members of the Dehcho First Nations, a representative from ECCC and an impartial chair.
In 2018, the GNWT was engaged regarding the subsurface rights and pertinent sections of the EEA and, on June 4, 2020, an agreement was reached with the GNWT to permanently withdraw all subsurface rights under Edéhzhíe.
On March 6, 2021, the proposed Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, followed by a 30-day public comment period. One comment was received from an individual, which expressed support for the proposed establishment of the Edéhzhíe NWA.
Since then, discussions with Dehcho First Nation also indicated continued support for the establishment.
In parallel with the publication of the Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I, ECCC conducted a preliminary screening pursuant to subsection 124(2) of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA). Under the MVRMA, the designation of the Edéhzhíe Dehcho Protected Area as a NWA is considered a development which must be evaluated through a preliminary screening. The purpose of the preliminary screening is to allow the public and interested parties to determine whether or not there might be any significant impacts on the environment or significant public concerns.
During the preliminary screening, the GNWT raised the concern regarding the harvest of Wood Bison that is listed as threatened under the Species at Risk Act, but has been reassessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) to “special concern.” It remains listed as threatened under the Species at Risk Act, until the Governor in Council (GiC) makes a decision in respect of that COSEWIC reassessment. Indigenous harvest is consistent with the future objectives of the recovery strategy for Wood Bison, as well as the regional Mackenzie Bison Management Plan (2018), which was developed by the GNWT with collaboration from Indigenous organizations (e.g. the Mackenzie Bison Working Group).
The EMB, in consultation with Indigenous leadership from Fort Providence, decided that the current management system for the harvest of Wood Bison would be maintained in the interim, until such time that the management of the Wood Bison harvest can be considered within the broader management planning discussions for the new NWA. This includes the establishment, by the Mackenzie Wood Bison Working Group, of a total annual harvest, and the ongoing administration of Fort Providence Wood Bison harvests through the use of tags. Final decisions, if different, will be incorporated into the Edéhzhíe Management Plan, which is scheduled for completion at the end of 2023.
The Department’s MVRMA preliminary screening determined that no significant adverse impacts on the environment or significant public concerns exist and, therefore, the Edéhzhíe NWA designation does not require to be referred to the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board for an environmental assessment. Following the screening determination, the Board confirmed that they did not receive any correspondence from any referral bodies during the 10-day pause period. The Department’s preliminary screening determination was accepted, and the process was concluded on September 14, 2021.
Modern treaty obligations and Indigenous engagement and consultation
As required by the Cabinet Directive on Regulation, an assessment of modern treaty implications was conducted. The assessment did not identify any modern treaty implications or obligations.
Paragraph 3.3(a) of the EEA specifies that individuals exercising section 35 rights under the Constitution Act, 1982, in a manner consistent with Dehcho law, shall not require additional permits or authorizations from Canada, and shall not be required to pay fees to engage in Dene Ahthít’efootnote 3 within Edéhzhíe, including for resource harvesting and other cultural uses and activities. Therefore, it has been determined that while the establishment of Edéhzhíe NWA will result in the prohibition of certain activities within the NWA, these prohibitions will not impact resource harvesting by Dehcho First Nations, and will not adversely impact the exercise of section 35 rights, as their exercise is protected under paragraph 3.3(a) of the EEA.
NWAs are established pursuant to the CWA to protect and conserve wildlife and wildlife habitat. Under section 12 of the CWA, the Governor in Council may make regulations for the preservation, control and management of lands acquired by the Minister of the Environment under the CWA. Regulations are the sole method to establish and effectively manage NWAs in order to ensure the conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitats; therefore, other instruments were not considered.
Benefits and costs
This analysis presents the benefits and costs of adding Edéhzhíe to Schedule I of the WAR by comparing the differences between two scenarios: the policy scenario, in which Edéhzhíe NWA is established, and a baseline scenario that reflects current and otherwise planned activities in Edéhzhíe as a Dehcho Protected Area. Currently, Edéhzhíe is effectively protected by the Dehcho First Nations under Dehcho Dene law. The NWA designation adds enforceable legal protections through the CWA to the Edéhzhíe Dehcho Protected Area. Overall, the analysis did not indicate that the amendments would result in significant incremental costs for stakeholders, Indigenous peoples, or the Government.
NWAs are created and managed for the purposes of wildlife conservation, research, and interpretation. They are established to protect migratory birds, species at risk, and other wildlife and their residences and habitats. The Edéhzhíe NWA helps further these objectives, contributes to overall biodiversity and recognizes the leadership of the Dehcho in caring of the land, and ensure that the Dehcho people benefit economically from the management of this area.
Although the NWA designation provides legal certainty and legal protection in perpetuity for Edéhzhíe, the benefits associated with protection of the area cannot be attributed to the amendments on their own, given the establishment of the Edéhzhíe Dehcho Protected Area under Dehcho Dene law. Nevertheless, some information about the social and ecological value of the area is provided below for context.
Socio-economic and cultural values for Indigenous peoples
The land that is protected by the NWA has always been fundamental to the health and cultural identity of the Dehcho First Nations. The Dehcho First Nations have developed specific concepts, practices and standards of care that are derived from and deployed on the land, which commonly aim to maintain spiritual, emotional, mental and physical wellness. Generally, land-based programs have storytelling, legends, and teachings components, and thus can be viewed as a culturally specific therapeutic technique that could improve the mental health and educational experience of the Dehcho First Nations. The designation of the Edéhzhíe NWA supports these benefits and ensures the land remains accessible for the Dehcho First Nations.
Species at risk in Edéhzhíe
There are many species-at-risk found within Edéhzhíe. Some examples include
- Woodland (Boreal) Caribou
- Wood Bison
- Peregrine Falcon
- Short-Eared Owl
- Olive-Sided Flycatcher
- Common Nighthawk
- Rusty Blackbird
- Yellow Rail
- Evening Grosbeak
Establishing the Edéhzhíe NWA provides additional protection to an ecologically diverse area that contributes to overall biodiversity. The conservation of biodiversity is essential for healthy ecosystems, human health, prosperity, and well-being. Ecosystems that are more diverse are generally more stable and better able to withstand change.
Critical habitat for the Boreal Caribou is extensive in Edéhzhíe. Caribou are an important part of Dehcho First Nations culture and identity, enabling spirituality, rituals, language preservation, knowledge transmission, traditions, and connection to the past. Caribou are recurrent and central in Dehcho First Nations stories, songs, art and ceremonies. Not only are caribou featured as cultural symbols for the Dehcho First Nations, their hides, bones, and antlers are used to make drums and other artifacts for cultural activities and rituals (Dehcho Traditional Knowledge Assessment Summary).
Furthermore, the Dehcho First Nations crest displays Caribou, symbolizing the relationship between this species and the communities’ identity (PDF). In at least one Dehcho area, place names associated with mbedzih (Caribou) are still used, including place names associated with the cultural story of a talking Caribou (Dehcho Traditional Knowledge Assessment Summary).
Wood Bison inhabit the eastern portion of Edéhzhíe and have significant cultural value to the Dehcho First Nations. The Dehcho First Nations relationship with the Wood Bison creates a sense of community through the harvest (PDF). The Dehcho First Nations crest also displays bison, symbolizing the relationship between this species and the communities’ identity. Knowledge transfer and teachings about culturally significant species, such as the Wood Bison, are extremely important practices for the Dehcho First Nations, as they pass on their culture, spirituality, traditional practices, languages and history (stories, legends, songs, etc.) orally or through practices on traditional lands. Furthermore, teachings about the traditions and hunting of Wood Bison specifically cannot be replicated with another species or activity. Designating Edéhzhíe as a NWA secures protection for this area in perpetuity through the Canada Wildlife Act. This reduces legal uncertainty as to whether future Dehcho First Nations generations could lose this aspect of Indigenous culture and knowledge.
Studies on other at-risk species indicate that Canadians value vulnerable species,footnote 4 especially iconic or charismatic species.footnote 5,footnote 6 Caribou are an iconic Canadian wildlife species, appearing on the 25-cent coin and as symbols on crests, shields and monuments throughout the country. For example, caribou appear on the Federal Court’s coat of arms, the Newfoundland and Labrador coat of arms, the Nunavut coat of arms, and on several military regiment badges. Boreal Caribou are one of Canada’s most widely distributed populations of large mammals; they are found in nine provinces and territories across Canada. The species is often used as a symbol of Canada’s vast landscape.
Bison are also an iconic Canadian wildlife species, prominent on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police badge, military regiment badges, and on shields and monuments throughout the country (Regina, Calgary and Manitoba Court coat of arms [PDF]).
The Edéhzhíe Dehcho Protected Area provides many benefits to Canadians, including aesthetic and potentially recreational opportunities, and ecological services such as nitrogen cycling, carbon storage and sequestration, air filtration, flood control, water flow mitigation, and water filtration.footnote 7 For example, boreal forests store and sequester a large amount of carbon. Boreal forests play an essential role in the carbon cycle, as they store about 49% of carbon worldwide.footnote 8
Canadian residents and firms may hold a value associated with the preservation of Canadian genetic information that may be used in the future for biological, medicinal, genetic engineering and other applications, such as species recovery. Economic theory also suggests there is a benefit to erring on the side of avoiding an irreversible outcome (i.e. extinction). Therefore, Canadian residents and firms may benefit from the potential future uses of species being conserved in the Edéhzhíe NWA.
Recreation and tourism
In the short term, the amendments are not expected to have an impact on recreational or tourism activities in the area because ECCC is currently not aware of any tourism businesses operating within the boundary of the Edéhzhíe NWA. Possible tourist activities, such as fishing and hunting by individuals, except individuals exercising their land rights or traditional activities protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 in a manner consistent with Dehcho law, are prohibited under the amendments, unless authorized by a permit.
In the unlikely event that there are tourism activities currently being undertaken in the NWA, they will become newly subject to the permitting requirements. Should there be an increase in tourism activities as a result of the Regulations, they would also be subject to the permitting requirements. The requirements associated with tourist activities within the NWA boundary, including the issuance of permits, are a part of the Edéhzhíe management plan, developed by the Dehcho First Nations under the EEA in collaboration with the Department.
Oil, gas and mining exploration and development
The amendments are not expected to affect the oil and gas exploration and development industry. According to a geographic information system (GIS) analysis, the only surface wells in Edéhzhíe were used in the 1960s and are now abandoned. Future sites would most likely be located outside the boundaries of Edéhzhíe.
According to datasets managed by Natural Resources Canada, there are currently no active, planned, or potential future mines within the boundaries of the Edéhzhíe NWA. According to the Northwest Territories Geological Survey, there are no mineral tenures overlapping with the Edéhzhíe NWA, including coal exploration licences, mineral leases, or prospecting permits. In addition, there are no mineral showings overlapping with the boundaries of the NWA. Therefore, the mining industry is not expected to be affected.
Oil and gas and mining industries were consulted on the proposed amendments and, on June 4, 2020, agreement was reached with the GNWT to permanently withdraw all subsurface rights under Edéhzhíe.
Cost to Government of Canada
As the lead authority for the Edéhzhíe NWA, ECCC already incurs costsfootnote 9 relating to the existing management and coordination of the area. Through the 2018 EEA, ECCC matches funding to the Dehcho First Nations to use for longer-term management and Guardian programs. The Dehcho Ke’hodi Edéhzhíe Guardians are responsible for working with elders and harvesters on building trails, establishing cabins, on-the-land programming for communities, and leading fieldwork for traditional and scientific research (e.g. songbird monitoring, water quality monitoring).
This approach to managing the protected area will continue with the establishment of the NWA, and includes additional management activities, as well as compliance promotion and enforcement activities related to the implementation of the amendments. ECCC estimates that the additional salary, capital, and operations budget required for the management of the NWA will be approximately $210,000 per year. These funds support the implementation of collaborative management agreements and activities under the Edéhzhíe Management Plan, including the required collaborative science and ecosystem monitoring for adaptive management of the NWA.
In addition, new costs are expected related to environmental enforcement and compliance monitoring, including working with the Edéhzhíe Guardian program to increase surveillance in the NWA. The estimated cost for these enforcement activities is about $200,000 per year. As well, a one-time cost of compliance promotion products (e.g. fact sheets, signage) in the first year after the establishment of the NWA is estimated to be $25,000. Ongoing compliance promotion in the following years has not been estimated, but it would likely be considerably less.
Administrative costs of the NWA designation to ECCC are expected to be minimal, as only a few permit applications are expected each year. Therefore, the total cost to the Government of Canada as a result of the amendments is estimated to be approximately $440,000 in the first year of implementation, and approximately $410,000 in each subsequent year, resulting in a total present value of approximately $3.5 million over 10 years.
Small business lens
Analysis under the small business lens concluded that the Regulations will not impact Canadian small businesses.
The one-for-one rule does not apply, as there is no incremental change in administrative burden on business and no regulatory titles are repealed or introduced.
Regulatory cooperation and alignment
Given that Canada has unique needs with respect to wildlife and habitat conservation, and that Canada has unique statutory instruments to conserve and protect its wildlife and habitat within its borders, there is no regulatory cooperation or alignment component associated with the Regulations.
Strategic environmental assessment
In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) was conducted for the establishment of Edéhzhíe NWA. The SEA concluded that establishing Edéhzhíe as a NWA is not likely to result in important negative environmental effects. It will have positive environmental effects and will contribute to the implementation of the following 2019–2022 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy goals:
- Sustainably managed lands and forests: Lands and forests support biodiversity and provide a variety of ecosystem services for generations to come. This designation contributes to sustainably managed lands and forests within Edéhzhíe.
- Healthy wildlife populations: All species have healthy and viable populations. Edéhzhíe contains important habitat for Boreal Woodland Caribou and Wood Bison, two threatened species listed under Species at Risk Act.
- Effective action on climate change: An expanded and strengthened protected areas network contributes to the larger Government of Canada strategy to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
- Connecting Canadians with nature: This designation enables working with Indigenous Peoples to protect and conserve lands and waters, including through the Edéhzhíe Guardians Program.
ECCC is committed to protecting Canada’s wildlife, in particular, species at risk and migratory birds, and wildlife habitat. The NWA designation supports efforts related to Canada’s biodiversity targets that at least 25% (and working toward 30% by 2030) of terrestrial areas and inland water are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. With its 14 218 kmfootnote 2, Edéhzhíe, when designated as an IPCA with funding from the Nature Legacy 2018, contributed approximately 0.14% to the 25% target. This was the first IPCA funded by Nature Legacy 2018 and the most significant contribution to date to the target by that Fund.
Gender-based analysis plus
A gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) was performed for the designation of the Edéhzhíe NWA. As a result of this analysis, it was determined that the amendments are not expected to have any negative impacts on particular groups of Dehcho First Nations or other Canadians.
The analysis also found that Dehcho First Nations in particular will benefit positively from the establishment of the Edéhzhíe NWA, as the designation is expected to help the Dehcho First Nations to maintain spiritual, emotional, mental and physical wellness. In addition, the NWA could help Indigenous women in particular to sustainably contribute to local livelihoods and national economies through a possible increase in tourism, which may provide a range of benefits to people living nearby.
Implementation, compliance and enforcement, and service standards
ECCC continues to be the lead federal organization responsible for compliance promotion and enforcement activities for the Edéhzhíe NWA.
Compliance and enforcement
A compliance strategy has been developed to support the designation of the Edéhzhíe NWA. Compliance promotion initiatives are proactive measures that encourage voluntary compliance with the law through education and outreach activities that raise awareness and understanding. Given that the Regulations do not impose any notable new requirements, compliance promotion and enforcement activities are limited, and have a targeted focus. These activities may involve web content, social media, direct mail outs, signage, etc.
The CWA provides wildlife officers (designated under the CWA) with various powers (e.g. inspections, right of passage, search and seizure, custody of things seized, etc.) and enforcement measures (warnings, compliance orders, tickets, administrative monetary penalties [AMPs] and prosecutions) to secure compliance. The Designation of Regulatory Provisions for Purposes of Enforcement (Canada Wildlife Act) Regulations (the Designation Regulations) designate offences under CWA that subject an offender to the minimum fines and increased maximum fines upon conviction by prosecution.
Enforcement activities are generally prioritized based on conservation risk to wildlife and wildlife habitat as well as the level of risk of non-compliance. In cases involving minor situations of non-compliance, a warning, compliance order, ticket or AMPs may be appropriate. In cases involving a serious incident of non-compliance, prosecution may be the most appropriate recourse for enforcement purposes. In such cases, the fine regime described in the Designation Regulations would apply upon conviction. It also explains offences and punishments (penalties, fines and imprisonment) for offenders, whether they are individuals, small revenue corporations or other persons. Schedule I.2 of the Contravention Regulations designates offences under the CWA that can subject an offender to a ticket. Schedule 1, Part 2, Division 1 of the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations designates violations under the CWA that can subject a violator to an AMP.
While the above-mentioned tools are available for use by wildlife officers within the Edéhzhíe NWA, when considering enforcement activities in this NWA, ECCC will communicate with the Edéhzhíe Management Board and work with the Dehcho K’éhodi Stewardship and Guardian Program to coordinate activities and establish priorities. The Government of Canada will continue working collaboratively with the Dehcho First Nations to protect the area’s ecological integrity and ensure that the Dehcho Dene way of life is maintained for present and future generations.
Wildlife Management and Regulatory Affairs
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 Saint-Joseph Boulevard, 16th Floor